Home > Missionary Life > Where Skunks Should Not Tread!

Where Skunks Should Not Tread!

Striped Skunk

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Part of our missionary training was living for six weeks in a “home” we made of poles covered with dark and clear plastic. Kitchen cupboards, benches, and beds were all made of poles and twine. Think glorified camping. For the most part, since we didn’t yet have children, this was actually a fun and uneventful part of our training. For the most part.

There was that small portion of time that wasn’t included in the “most part.” That would be the part that included a roving skunk that was making rounds between our house and the houses near us.

Growing up a tomboy, and definitely not a city girl, I don’t jump and scream at every little thing—not even skunks. However, I do draw the line at skunks entering my home—even my temporary home.

We had come home one evening after visiting at one of the neighbors. A glance around the house revealed no stray guests so we headed for bed. It was once we were in bed that it became evident that a skunk was in the house with us. My husband of a year and a half, still being a young man with what I considered at that moment some very foolish ideas, had a plan to get the skunk. He’d been told that if you grabbed them by the tail and picked them up before they planted their back feet, that they could not spray. I mean, this was before internet. How could he KNOW that???!!!

“But what if you’re wrong?” I argued in vain. “What if he sprays our house?”

“It’s just a temporary house. It’ll be okay,” he responded, a pleased look on his face at the challenge before him.

How do you argue with such reasoning? My mind scrambled through the meager possessions in our very temporary home, searching for something that would convince my husband that being sprayed by a skunk in close quarters could really be a bad idea. And then I had it!

“The Bibles! He’ll spray the bibles!” I yelled in as loud a whisper as I felt was safe with a skunk wandering in the room below us.

A chuckle? A laugh? Was that really my husband’s reaction? It was, but he found it humorous enough that he gave up on the idea of reaching down from our relatively high bed to grasp the skunk’s tail. We waited the skunk out. Eventually, after wandering around, he headed back to the exit and left us in peace.

We did make changes after that, one including putting a bucket in front of the door at night so the skunk couldn’t push his way in. That being said, I would like to tell you that  was my last encounter with Mr. DePew, but the story did not end there.

Matt was off on the “Men’s Hike” and I was roughing it alone. Arriving back to my house one evening, I did a thorough and cautious check of the house to be sure Mr. DePew had not stopped by for a visit. Pleased to find no unwelcome visitors in my house, I blocked the door securely with a bucket, climbed up onto my high bed, stretched out, and closed my eyes to the world.

That’s when I heard the noise. The noise of a skunk wandering my home. My other senses kicked in as the faint lingering odor of skunk reached my nostrils. Lifting my head, I peered tentatively over the edge of the bed to have my suspicions confirmed. Groaning quietly, I laid my head back down. The door was blocked. I had unintentionally locked a skunk in my house with me. I groaned some more as I pondered my options.

After some thought, I decided I would just have to try to sleep through the night and figure it out in the morning, hoping Mr. DePew wouldn’t become agitated when he found the exit blocked. I closed my eyes and slipped into a fitful sleep interspersed with nightmares of a skunk climbing up on my bed and snuggling in with me.

It wasn’t too much later that I awoke up with a start at the sensation of something crawling on my legs. Opening my eyes slowly, I waited as my eyes adjusted to look down at my legs. Thankful is not a strong enough descriptive word to describe how I felt when I realized there was nothing on my leg, that the sensations were part of my nightmare. The problem was that Mr. DePew was still there in the room with me and I knew I wasn’t going to fall back to sleep. The question was, how was I to escape?

Watching the movements of the skunk, I waited. I watched and waited for Mr. DePew to decide to investigate the far corner of the bedroom. Not that there was anything over there to attract his attention. If only I’d had a cute Mrs. DePew over there to lure him. Of course, then I would have been faced with two skunks in my small bedroom so that idea was nixed.

Mr. DePew finally became intrigued by that empty corner and sauntered over. That was my cue. Sliding quietly but quickly from the bed, I slipped into the front room, moved the bucket aside in one fluid motion, and left Mr. Depew to enjoy my home for the night. Of course, I left the door ajar hoping he’d decide to move on before morning!

I spent the night at the neighbors living. The next morning a more thorough search in the daylight showed that Mr. Depew had definitely left after there was no one to socialize with—and that was my last encounter with Mr. Depew. Whew!

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  1. tracy vaughn
    September 9, 2011 at 6:42 am

    Hilarious! Thanks for sharing! You are my hero! I wasn’t as calm around our skunk as you were with yours! Thanks for the great laugh this morning!!!

  1. March 16, 2012 at 3:41 am

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